Fort Hays State University's Centennial celebration will continue throughout the summer with several fun events scheduled during the next three months. The highlight of the summer will be the university's official birthday party during the first weekend in June.
At 8:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, May 27, the university will join with members of local veterans organizations to rededicate the Veterans Memorial located between Sheridan and Picken Halls on the FHSU campus. The ceremony, which is open to the public, will feature remarks by Hays resident Robert Layher, a veteran of the Flying Tigers. The Flying Tigers were a band of American aviators who helped defend China from the Japanese before America entered World War II. Members of the local VFW and American Legion, as well as their auxiliaries, will form the honor guard and present the colors. Local police and fire personnel also will be honored. In addition to this ceremony, FHSU President Edward H. Hammond will speak at the annual 10 a.m. memorial service at the Ellis County Courthouse, 1204 Fort.
June marks the official birthday of Fort Hays State University. The first classes convened on June 23, 1902. The university will celebrate this momentous occasion with a big Saturday of fun events.
Everyone is invited to the festivities on June 8, which begin at 9 a.m. with the dedication of a new entrance sign for the university at the Highway 183 by-pass entrance to campus, next to Gross Memorial Coliseum. A time capsule, to be opened in 25 years, will be buried at this site, accompanied by a brief informational ceremony about the capsule's contents. One item in the capsule will be a scroll signed by members of the university and community at previous Centennial events; those who still wish to sign the scroll may do so between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. that day by the new sign.
From 6 to 7:30 p.m., the official birthday will be celebrated with a party on the campus quad. The party will feature musical entertainment by the Blue Healers; free cake and ice cream will be provided by the local Dillons stores. Friends from near and far are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets to join in this celebration. Free Tiger balloons will be presented to all children, and everyone present will be eligible to win door prizes in a drawing at 7:15 p.m.
Following the party, "Something Wonderful: Richard Rodgers' Centennial of Song" will be presented at 8 p.m. in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. This performance is particularly appropriate because 2002 would mark Rodgers' 100th birthday if he were still alive. Rodgers' music has long been a favorite of many people, so the concert should have something to suit everyone's taste. General admission tickets for the concert are $6, with the remainder of the cost underwritten by the university. Tickets will soon be on sale at local Dillons stores and the Memorial Union office; more information will be available closer to the concert date.
July's Centennial event will be the rededication of the Contemplation Garden conceived by the late Dr. Ann McClure, a professor of business administration at FHSU from 1988-1999. The garden, which features statues by Hays sculptor Pete Felten, was created to honor the contributions of women to the university. In anticipation of July's typical high temperatures, the rededication luncheon will take place in the Memorial Union. Two local women -- one alumna and one non-alumna -- will offer personal reflections on what Fort Hays State University means to a woman in leadership. Everyone is welcome to attend this free luncheon, but those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to the President's Office at (785) 628-4232. A special invitation will also be extended to local women's organizations.
The final event of the summer will take place on Aug. 26 in conjunction with the annual Back-to-School Picnic. Community residents are invited to join with members of the university community at 5 p.m. on the quad for the picnic. Reinvigorating an old college tradition, members of the incoming freshman class will be presented with commemorative beanies with Centennial pins. All freshmen are asked to gather at 4:30 p.m. on the steps of Picken Hall for a group photo.